Alternative career paths for new dads

Dad with son and daughter

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The first few weeks after your newborn arrives are some of the most hectic you’ll ever experience. Visits from Health Visitors, family and friends, early hour feedings and baby bonding will leave you with little time to think about much else.

Once the first few whirlwind weeks have passed by, you will be faced with the daunting prospect of going back to work. For some new dads, this is not a problem at all, and they may look forward to getting back into the routine. Many others dread the thought of going back to the daily grind and having to spend less time with their baby.

Considering that 70 per cent of parents feel like they don’t spend enough time with their children, many dads are considering alternative employment options to remedy this situation. From freelancing to franchising, here are five alternative career paths new dads can take:

1. Tutoring or teaching music

Tutoring is a great way to use your skills and area of expertise to earn money at home. You can choose to visit your clients’ homes and keep it local or have people visit your home so you’re always nearby. It goes without saying, but choose a subject you can easily demonstrate your proficiency at. If you’ve worked in engineering for a few years then maybe maths would be your strong point, if you have worked in research labs you would naturally move towards the sciences.

There are no official accreditations needed for tutors in the UK, but it’s usually expected that you’ll have a university degree or a relevant qualification in your chosen subject. You’re not required by law to have a DBS check, but it can help put parents at ease.

Registering with a local tutoring agency can help you secure your first group of students. You should also look to sites like GumTree and Craigslist to post your advert and look for requests for tutors.

2. Franchising

Franchising is an often-overlooked option for new parents but it can be a brilliant way of using your skills to forge a new career while spending time at home with your new family.

Franchises can offer the security of a tried-and- tested business model, a trusted brand name, training and support and expert advice too. Opening a franchise can provide opportunities to both seasoned business people and to those with little experience of the corporate world, and it’s a lower risk option than opening a new business from scratch.

Franchise work can offer as much flexibility as running your own business, and flexibility is the key to keeping a healthy work/life balance. In many franchises, such as Puddle Ducks, there is the option to work from home for the majority of the time. Doing so can provide you with the perfect balance between quality time with your family and re-entering the workforce. The British Franchise Association website will offer you all the information you need to get started.

3. Working from home

If you’re disciplined, organised, and have the right tools, working from home for the first few months of your baby’s life could be the best option for you. Check if your company allows staff to work from home, for at least part of the week. It may be that you’re required to be in the office for three days, and can work from home for two, or a similar arrangement.

That said, working from home is no mean feat. You will have more time to spend with your family, but you will be required to balance this with your usual day-to- day office tasks. You may end up taking on too much – working while feeding, changing nappies, playing and other types of caregiving your young baby will need.

It’s a great choice for some parents, but can be detrimental for others. If you think your job is just too demanding to balance with the pressures of parenting, it pays to be honest with yourself about this.

4. Working part time

If working from home is not for you, you could consider going part time. This could vary from working reduced hours each day, working fewer days a week, or alternating between three days one week and four days the next, for instance. There are many different possibilities for your employee to consider so you can work around your family.

With working part time there may be the issue of reduced pay. This is something you will have to take into consideration when assessing your options. If you feel like part time work is for you, take some time out with your partner to see how you can save money, or if there are any other ways you can recoup the lost income.

Your employer may want to see you put a case forward for working part time and how you plan to make it work both for you and them. At the very least, your employer is required to listen to your case and enter a discussion with you.

5. Freelance work

Unfortunately, going freelance does not work in every industry. It’s most effective if you have proven knowledge and experience behind you, so might not be the best for young dads. However, if you work in creative industries like photography and graphic design or anything to do with writing content, you could go freelance with your services.

With freelancing, you have the benefits of choosing your own hours, so you can work around your family’s routines. As well as this, you can choose your clients and the types of jobs you do. You have complete creative control, and you can work wherever and whenever you want – as long as you get the job done by the deadline.

There are options If you are absolutely dreading the thought of returning back to work, there are alternative options. If you think you need a change of career path so you can spend more time with your family, speak to your partner and, together, work out the different options you both have available. Be open and honest with each other, and as realistic as you can.

Babies and children grow up a lot quicker than you can imagine. You don’t want to miss these important years, so make sure you consider all the options you have open to you.


Jo Stone is a co-founder of Puddle Ducks, a franchising business that now has 36 franchises across the UK, teaching approximately 18,000 children to swim every single week.

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